David and Yvonne
My wife Yvonne and I are about to spend our 61st Pesach together. We met at a Jewish youth club in Stamford Hill. I saw this beautiful young girl across the room. She really took my breath away. It was love at first sight.
We’ve always had a wonderful marriage, but things began to change when Yvonne had a fall and fractured her pelvis. While she was recovering in hospital, the doctors gave us some more news: Yvonne has dementia. Then she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease as well. Our life has never been the same since.
I’m absolutely determined to look after Yvonne myself. Every morning I get her out of bed, wash her and get her dressed. I do all the washing and cleaning at home too. As you might imagine, I’ve had to learn a lot of new skills in my eighties. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to take care of Yvonne. After all, she’s my wife.
Everyone needs a little help from time to time. That’s why I’m so grateful I have the support from Jewish Care. Without them I don’t know how I would cope.
Every day, we look forward to our hot kosher lunch from Jewish Care’s meals on wheels service. I’m not much of a cook, so it’s often the only hot food we eat all day. The food is absolutely delicious – especially the salt beef and latkes. They’re Yvonne’s favourite.
One day a week I take her to the Dennis Centre. It’s one of Jewish Care’s day centres for people living with dementia. It’s become a huge part of our lives. Yvonne’s always happy on the mornings we come here. I can tell she’s thinking about meeting friends and getting on with her knitting.
I drop her off at 10 o’ clock and once she’s settled in, I can pop back home to get on with my jobs or along to the shops to get anything we need. It’s a real relief to know that Yvonne’s being properly looked after and enjoying herself. And it’s the only moment in the week where I get a little time to do the shopping and odd jobs that have to be done.
We sometimes go to the Memory Way Café at the centre too. I can talk to people who are in my situation about the difficulties we’re facing. And sometimes it just helps to know I’m not alone.
We’ll even have a special Seder at the centre as Pesach approaches. It’s just too difficult for us to celebrate at home like we used to but at least now we are able to keep hold of our traditions, and we have such a wonderful time.
I really want to carry on looking after Yvonne in our own home. We’ve been living here since the day we got married. Our children grew up here. It’s full of so many memories. I never want to leave it. Nor does Yvonne. And thanks to the support I get from Jewish Care we don’t have to.
We’re just one among thousands of families in the Jewish community this Pesach having to cope with the challenges of living with dementia.
Jewish Care’s centres receive little local authority funding and this kind of care costs lots of money. They need to raise funds every year to continue their services like the Dennis Centre and Meals and Wheels. Their Memory Way Cafés depend entirely on voluntary support. It’s only thanks to the gifts Jewish Care receives from generous people like you that they can continue to help more people like us.
At Pesach, we take time to remember.
Please will you also take the time to remember Jewish Care without whom I would be lost? Please make a gift to help more people living with dementia and the people who care for them. Anything you can give will make a huge difference to the lives of people like Yvonne and me. Thank you so very much.
Wishing you a happy Pesach,